Whitney Houston’s Death Sends Cyber Scams across Twitter, Facebook

The world has lost another icon as Whitney Houston dies at age 48. It’s one of the biggest topics of discussion these days across Twitter, Facebook, and digital and traditional publications alike.  On the other hand, cyberpunks fixed on using her death as bait to lure people into their petty online traps. In fact, shortly after the news of Whitney’s death went live, two web threats had already spawned. The first one’s a clickjacking attack on Facebook, and the other a malicious link circulating on Twitter, says Trend Micro.

Facebook’s clickjacking scam is masked as a wall post saying “I Cried watching this video. RIP Whitney Houston,” and attached with it is a link that’s supposed to lead to the video. Clicking it will only steer users to a survey scam site after a number of prior redirections. “Upon further investigation on the domains involved in the redirections, we also found 101 more survey scams registered on the same IP where the domains are hosted,” says Trend Micro.

The malicious link on Twitter is also trending worldwide. It redirects the clicker to a blog dedicated to the late singer, then redirected again to another page, and another one. The victim will eventually end up on a site that features several Whitney Houston wallpapers. If you download one of these wallpapers, a pop-up window appears offering Whitney Houston ringtones. Should you stay or leave the page, it redirects to a survey site that collects mobile numbers.

Celebrity deaths are golden opportunities for spam, malware

Yet again, this isn’t the first time a celebrity death has been used to lure clicks into a maze of malware. Amy Winehouse’s death has spawned a great deal of malware in a similar manner, using surveys. We also saw malware that took advantage of Steve Job’s death, asking users to take a survey in exchange for a free iPad. People’s curiosity and skepticism over Osama Bin Laden’s death had also made them luscious victims for a clickjacking spree that claims to show Osama’s dead body. And the recent death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il also prompted exploits in PDF to infect computers with a Trojan.